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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review

With a hugely eclectic acting career spanning forty years, the ever committed and self-aware Nicolas Cage – and the beloved library of over-the-top memes – has long since established a devoted fan base. Following a string of wonderfully downright bonkers turns in films such as Mandy, Willy’s Wonderland and Prisoners of the Ghostland, the Cageassaince continues with film festival favourite Pig and Cage’s latest outing, the upcoming meta new action comedy which proves an affectionate tribute to one of Hollywood’s most enduring actors.

Directed by Tom Gormican, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent centres on a surreally fictionalised characterisation of Nic Cage, who’s latest failed audition leaves him in a quandary over his future in the film industry. Divorced and in financial trouble, Cage accepts a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of wealthy super fan Javi (Pedro Pascal) who may not be as adorable as he appears. Intercepted and recruited by the CIA (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) at the airport, Cage is forced to go undercover and embrace his action roles to help foil a deadly kidnapping plot.

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Despite the outlandish sounding FBI plot and more bonkers meta moments, this is a wildly entertaining and action-packed comedy with Nic Cage delivering one of his most entertaining performances yet. It does take a little while for the film to find its footing, truly clicking into place once Cage arrives at Javi’s mansion and meets the delightful super fan. The winning central dynamic elevates the slightly silly kidnapping plot, as the interactions and budding bromance between the two serves as the true heart of the film. The humour excels most when the two bond over their love of films and bringing action sequences, along with Javi’s crafted script, to life – particularly in a hilarious drug fuelled escape chase.

It’s clear that Nic Cage is undoubtedly having a blast in the role – fully embracing the more chaotic and larger-than-life persona for some truly banana moments (literally facing off against himself), whilst hilariously also reprising some of his classic roles. His energy and tenacity is infectious, and it’s difficult not to laugh along as he believes he’s discovered his real purpose as an undercover spy. But it’s the endearing and real joy of the central friendship which excels in carrying the absurd plot and increasingly larger action sequences, as Pedro Pascal’s adorably sweet fanboy threatens to steal the show.

With a surprising runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes, there are moments which feel like they could have been trimmed down somewhat, particularly the strained dynamic with Nic Cage’s ex wife – played by a somewhat underused Sharon Horgan – and his teenage daughter. The half-baked FBI subplot also feels more like a device to push Cage into the more ludicrous scenarios, once again underusing The Afterparty duo Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz, which is a real shame following their hilarious back and forth over their favourite Cage film.

This is undoubtedly a must for Nic Cage fans though, as Gormican takes you on a hilarious rollercoaster ride through Cage’s iconic filmography, with plenty of winking nods, easter eggs and movie references. As Javi and Cage delve further into the plans for their action flick, the duo are transported on a number of shoot outs, car chases and explosive sequences.

Verdict

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an absolutely bonkers thrill ride from start to finish, packed full of Nic Cage throwbacks and some surprisingly moving moments. The riotous Pedro Pascal & Nic Cage bromance is undoubtedly the selling point however, with the meta-comedy shining most in the charming buddy moments. A real must see for fans of the actor!

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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is released in cinemas on April 22.